It’s National Poetry Day

The poets and poetry lovers of the UK have planned us a day of poetry readings, events, competitions, quizzes, exhibitions, commissions, creations, recitations and more.

Here in Derbyshire our own Poet Laureate Matt Black is going to be performing at two of our libraries – Ripley this afternoon between 3 and 4pm and Belper tonight from 7pm. For more details about Matt check out his own blogspot http://derbyshirepoetlaureate.blogspot.co.uk

Today would also be a good day to remember Ann Atkinson, a former Derbyshire Poet Laureate who died earlier this year.

Ann left a wonderful legacy in her published work and her commissions for public art which can be seen at different places in Derbyshire including The Hub in South Normanton; Blackwell Miners Welfare Cricket Ground; and her Companion Stone in Longshaw Park.

Derbyshire County Council has published ‘From Matlock to Mamelodi: 5000 miles of poetry with the Derbyshire Poet Laureate Ann Atkinson’ which features all of the poems written by Ann during her time as laureate. Copies are available to borrow in Derbyshire Libraries.

One of my favourite Derbyshire poets is Jane Weir and in the spirit of the day here is one she wrote about this county. It is in her book The Way I Dressed During The Revolution. http://janeweir.co.uk

White Peak

The car still moving we scan

the grasses’ seed heads,

a weight of startled exclamation marks.

You are compelled to stop

by the pin-point of a hawk,

an air-borne crucifix set against

the marble biased dusk.

The engine turned off,

we listen as the White Peak silvers,

whitens, spreads its silence.

You, in your journeyman way take

my hand and walk me away,

over uncut quarries, through drowsy

flowers where our eyes fill

with unwindings of dandelions,

cowslips, lady’s smocks.

And here are the words to a track which over the years have inspired me. No Derbyshire link but it is National Poetry Day!

Spirit

by Mike Scott

Man gets tired

Spirit don’t

Man surrenders

Spirit won’t

Man crawls

Spirit flies

Spirit lives when man dies

Man seems

Spirit is

Man dreams

The spirit lives

Man is tethered

Spirit is free

What spirit is man can be

For more information about the day go to the national website http://www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk

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